The Giveaway is now OVER. My two randomly selected winners were Shirley A and Melanienu (need your e mail address please!). Best wishes to all for a Happy May and thanks for stopping by and commenting here.
Welcome to the April Fools For Love event! Here’s the link to the Main Page where you can enter to win the Event Prizes via Rafflecopter: http://www.sfrstation.com/april-fools-for-love-event/ You’ll also find links to all the other participating authors on the main page.
I’m giving away two $25.00 Amazon gift cards from my blog, which I’ll award to two randomly selected commenters. The question is “What’s the most foolish thing you ever did for love?”
Giveaway runs from April 1 through April 30th, so I’ll pick my two winners for MY blog on May 1st and announce the names.
Here’s an excerpt from my most recent science fiction romance, Mission to Mahjundar, where Major Mike Varone, the hero, is about to do something pretty foolish for love. Johnny is his cousin and the other Sectors Special Forces operator assigned to the main mission. (Mild spoilers for Mission to Mahjundar here!):
“Back in the city, Shalira told me the necklace had been her mother’s, and she’d never take it off till the day she died.” Mike stared at the bauble coiled in his hand. “Now today, she tells me she’ll have no further need of it.” Shoving the jewelry in his pocket, Mike shook his head as he sealed the flap. “They had her wrapped in a shawl, but when she was taking off the necklace, I saw her arms covered in bruises. Her hands were chapped and cut.” He took a deep breath. “That’s not the worst of it. She was wearing the Windhunter collar, but when she first walked into the tent I noticed deep red marks on her neck. I think the bastard tried to strangle her.”
“You think Bandarlok is abusing her?”
“I think he’s planning to kill her, or at least that’s what she thinks.”
Rubbing one hand along his jawline, Johnny tipped his head. “We never did get a straight answer about what happened to Saium. He vanished off the face of the planet, which seems ominous, given how you say the chief is treating Shalira.”
“Did you see any signs of her clan in the camp? Any banners, anyone with a bird tattoo like Saium’s?”
Dismounting to check his restless horse’s rear hoof, Johnny shook his head. “No, and I didn’t see any signs of preparation for a big wedding feast, either.”
“I’m sure the wooden staff with the carved Windhunter bird totem we took from the tomb was burning in the fire pit last night,” Mike said.
Johnny whistled as he dug a small pebble from the horse’s hoof. “Not a good omen. What do you have in mind to do?”
“Go back in tonight, do some recon, extract the princess. Bandarlok is a dead man if he gets in my way.” Mike eyed his cousin, waiting for Johnny to make some protest. “I’m taking her out of there and I’ll kill anyone in the camp who interferes, including the chief. She’s coming with me.”
The sergeant merely rubbed his jaw and nodded slowly. “All the way to the Djeelaba Mountains? With Bandarlok and his highland warriors chasing us to add to the fun?” Johnny chuckled, tossing the pebble he’d removed from the horse’s shoe as far away as he could. “Well, that’ll reduce the boredom of the search and recovery job. And then what? Are we taking her into the Sectors?”
Mike nodded. “Home to Azrigone as my wife, if she’ll have me. I won’t be the first guy to return married to a local girl.” He frowned. “You know the regs, I’m allowed to bring home a wife.”
Johnny nodded. “Oh, I’m in. You know Command isn’t going to like it, us complicating our mission with personal business. Bandarlok won’t give her up without a fight.”
“I don’t care, this is my last job for them, we’re basically doing Command a favor to take this mission on. They can court martial me if they want. Keep the veterans’ acres.”
“We have to accomplish our own mission objective,” Johnny reminded him. “Only way to have what we want is to bring them what they want. Command made the parameters clear enough when they reassigned us to active duty.” He spat.
Mike was undeterred. “We won’t fail, my word on it.”
“Just one thing, cousin. I hate to bring it up, but what if the lady insists on staying with Bandarlok, like she did back at the tombs? What if you’re wrong and this necklace she gave you doesn’t mean anything? If she still won’t turn aside from doing what she sees as her duty to her father?” Johnny ran his reins through his gloved hands. “What’s our play then?”
For a long minute Mike was silent. “Fair question. If I’m wrong, if she says no, then I ride away without a backward glance.”
“Can you do that?” Johnny’s eyebrows were raised to his hairline. “You seem pretty invested, old son. And if she’s being abused—”
“I’ll have to. But first she has to convince me. We’re past the point where her loyalty to her father carries much weight with me. If the old bastard sent her to be abused and killed by this barbarian chief, there’s no reason for her—or me—to go along with the plan. I screwed up the first time by not telling her straight out what she means to me. I should have told her I love her. I won’t repeat the mistake. Now mount up.”
An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.
But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?
2015 SFR Galaxy Award Winner
Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist